Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Magnitude 8.6 Earthquake is not Enough for Sumatran Earthquake!

The recent magnitude 8.6 earthquake (11/4/2012) and its aftershock of magnitude 8.2 struck Indonesian island of Sumatra. The mainshock last for five minutes and aftershock last for four minutes. Though tsunami alert was announced but no tsunami of remarkable height was not appeared any coasts of the world specially Sumatran coast.

Now the question is the magnitude 8.6 earthquake was not enough for tsunami? This earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, occurred as a result of strike-slip faulting within the oceanic lithosphere of the Indo-Australia plate. The quake was located approximately 100 km to the southwest of the major subduction zone that defines the plate boundary between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates offshore Sumatra. At this location, the Indo-Australia plate moves north-northeast with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of approximately 52 mm/yr.

indonesian sumatra earthquake tsunami warning
Large strike-slip earthquakes, while rare, are not unprecedented in this region of the Indo-Australian plate. Since the massive M 9.1 earthquake that ruptured a 1300 km long segment of the Sumatran megathrust plate boundary in December of 2004, three large strike-slip events have occurred within 50 km of the April 11, 2012 even.These earthquakes occurred on April 19 2006 (Mw6.2), October 4 2007 (Mw6.2) and January 10, 2012 (Mw7.2). In all three cases, the style of faulting was similar. These events align approximately with fabric of the sea floor in the diffuse boundary zone between the Indian and Australian plates.

This quake seems to be a large earthquake within the Indian Plate and the plate has broken in a sort of lateral way. It's a sort of tearing earthquake, and this is much less likely to cause a tsunami because it's not displacing large volumes of water.

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